It was a historic week for the Tiger softball program headlined by Maribeth Gorsuch tossing a perfect game and Beth Torina winning her 500th game as a head coach. The stretch also saw the Tigers set a new record for most runs scored in the new Tiger park, while sophomore catcher Morgan Cummins posted fourteen RBI’s over four games.
The finale of the Purple and Gold Challenge saw Gorsuch toss the first seven-inning perfect game in program history as the Tigers went on to win 4-0 over Belmont. She struck out a career best 16 batters including one stretch where she struck out eight straight. Gorsuch threw a first pitch strike to each of the 21 batters she faced and only had three, three-ball counts in the entire game.
Torina’s 500th win came on Friday night in a 12-0 run-rule win over Sam Houston State. It was also the second career no hitter for Shelby Wickersham, who struck out eight in her latest no-no. Cummins drove in six, Amanda Doyle went two-for-two with two RBI and a run scored, and Taylor Tidwell also had two hits including a two-run RBI double. Following the game, Torina celebrated the win with her family and a video tribute from some of her past players including Sahvanna Jaquish, Brittany Mack, Allie Walljasper, and others. 371 of her 500 wins have come with the Tigers.
Runs were not in short supply in the Tigers 20-4 Saturday run-rule victory over Sam Houston State, a game that set the ballpark record for most runs scored. LSU walked a total of 14 times in the game, setting a program record for most walks in a game. Taylor Pleasants had five on her own. Cummins and Shelbi Sunseri each drove in four runs. Jordyn Perkins had three RBI, while Georgia Clark and Victoria Abrams had two RBI each. Pleasants also scored four times.
On offense, Cummins continued to stay hot going five-of-seven with ten of her 14 RBI coming over two games against SHSU. Oddly, of the 14 runs Cummins drove in, she only hit one home run, though it was a grand slam. She now leads the SEC in slugging percentage.
The perfect game from Gorsuch was also the cap on an outstanding week for the Tiger pitching staff, which now leads the SEC in ERA and opponents batting average. Earlier in the week, Gorsuch had a one hit, one walk, six strikeout outing in the 11-0 win against LA Tech. Ali Kilponen threw five shutout innings and struck out six in the 8-0 win over Belmont.
Torina continued to tinker with the lineup throughout the week, though the top of Aliyah Andrews, Ciarra Briggs, Pleasants, and Clark stayed locked in. Torina did mix up some of the corner outfield spots, with Karrington Houshmanzadeh, Savannah Stewart, Claire Weinberger, and Anna Jones getting at least one start during the week. Although Sunseri was mostly used out of the five spot, Cummins looks poised to take over that role after her strong week.
This week also saw some of LSU’s veteran bats have a more pronounced presence. Aliyah Andrews went 5-of-15 with six runs scored. Sunseri and Doyle combined for nine hits and ten RBI.
More distribution on offense will be especially critical this coming weekend as LSU faces its toughest test in the out of conference slate at the Judi Garman Classic, which will feature games against ranked opponents in Texas Tech and Washington.